Byron's Babbles

Speaking Of Others Instead Of About Them

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 20, 2022

It is not easy to be the person who always tries to see the good in others; who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, who employs compassion instead of criticism. I really believe we need to employ speaking of others instead of about them. I know some of you are saying,” That’s just semantics, Byron.” But I say language matters here. There are a great many people who I deeply respect and care who, and of whom I speak of often – I don’t talk about them. Usually, I am speaking of some great attribute of the person, some funny quirk that makes them special, or some event/activity done together. When speaking of, there is laughter, but not laughing at. Think about how cool it feels when sharing stories of adventures with others. Remember how good kindness feels — how it opens your heart instead of shriveling it. Pledge to make it your rule instead of your exception.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” ~ Plato

Additionally, we can never completely know the personal pain or situations of the people we come in contact with on a daily basis and that it’s this lack of knowledge that should be the lens through which we see the world and everyone in it. As social creatures, we focus a lot of our attention on other people and that comes through in what we talk about. Telling stories helps us understand others and fills in blanks for others and ourselves understand others. We all have an innate need to understand others and when talking about someone this fills the need. Why I am such an advocate of speaking of instead about is because I don’t want to be skewed by someone else’s experiences. I want to base my feelings toward another person based on my experiences not others and I hope others would do that with me.


One Response

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  1. Brenda said, on November 20, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Very well captured Byron. I suspect many people want to believe they don’t judge others or talk about them, and make up our own minds rather than be influenced by what others say. We can’t cherry pick the aspects we like. Thank you for pointing out that what we say and how we behave are connected; they can’t be separated out.


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